Oil safety is paramount when using essential oils. Get to know and use the information in this section to make sure you will get the most benefit from your essential oils.
- Keep essential oils out of the reach of children and pets
- Do not use undiluted (NEAT) on the skin unless directed by a professional trained at an appropriate clinical level*
- Do not use internally unless directed by a professional trained at an appropriate clinical level*
- Keep away from the eyes
- Do a skin patch test of diluted oils to check for sensitivity
- Avoid extended use of the same essential oil
- Use the minimal amount of essential oils (more is not better)
- Store essential oils properly – dark and cool storage
- If phototoxic oils are used on the skin, avoid sunlight and tanning beds for at least 24 hours
- Do not use essential oils on pets unless advised by a professional trained at an appropriate clinical level*
- If you have an irritation, stop using the oil
- Use high-quality essential oils that are free of additives, know your source
- Seek advice from a professional trained at an appropriate clinical level* before using essential oils if you are pregnant
- If you have health issues, consult with a professional trained in an appropriate clinical level* to see if certain essential oils should be avoided
- Avoid the technique known as the Rain Drop Therapy. It is not considered as a “best practice” by the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) or the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA)
Appropriate clinical level. An appropriate level of training must include chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal or rectal)
To practice as a clinical aromatherapist, the AIA (Alliance of International Aromatherapists) Education Committee has set the following guidelines:
- Attendance at a clinical level school or equivalent training (minimum of 400 contact hours collectively with a minimum of 50 hours in Anatomy & Physiology).
- Submittal of a case study with the initial application.
- Submittal of a copy of certificate(s) or diploma(s) awarded with the initial application.
- Submittal of a copy of your school transcript(s) with the initial application.
- CPR/First Aid Certificate submitted with the initial application and updated annually.
- Practitioner liability insurance coverage certificate submitted with the initial application and updated annually.
Oil Safety – DILUTION
Essential oils are plant essences that are HIGHLY concentrated. It takes approximately 250 pounds of lavender to make just one pound of essential oil and it takes approximately 5000 pounds of rose petals to make one pound of rose oil. This shows just how concentrated essential oils are in comparison to the actual plant.
Dilution of essential oils in 30 ml. (1 ounce) of carrier oil
1% = 5 -6 drops
2% = 10 – 12 drops
3% = 15 – 18 drops
4% = 20 -24 drops
5% = 25 – 30 drops
Dilution of essential oils is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! In almost all situations you want to make sure you dilute your essential oils. Why??? If you do not dilute, you are subjecting yourself to some undesired outcomes.
“Essential oil dilution is important for two safety reasons. One, to avoid skin reactions: irritation, sensitization, and phototoxicity. Two, to avoid systemic toxicity, such as fetotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, carcinogenicity, and neurotoxicity. Adverse skin reactions are obvious when they happen, but systemic toxicities may not be. Skin reactions are totally dilution-dependent, and safety guidelines exist to minimize risk. This does not mean of course that every time a person uses an undiluted oil there will be an adverse reaction. Many times there won’t. But more is not always better, and minimizing risk is generally a good idea. A phototoxic reaction, for example, can be very, very nasty.” – Robert Tisserand (a well-respected authority on essential oil safety)
Oil Safety – Application
Once you have your essential oils do you know how to use them?
ALWAYS Dilute Your Oils in a carrier oil except when using a diffuser or in an inhaler
- Diffuse your oil in distilled water in an electrical diffuser –the number of drops will be dictated by the size of your space
- Inhale – place essential oils in a nasal inhaler (easy to take with you) or put a drop or two on a tissue – Not all essential oils are recommended for inhalation – consult with a professional trained in an appropriate clinical level*
- Steam inhalation – in steaming water, place 2 -3 drops of essential oils in water and cover your head with a towel then breathe in the essence – Not all essential oils are recommended for inhalation – consult with a professional trained in an appropriate clinical level*
- Skin application (Always use diluted essential oils unless directed by professional trained in an appropriate clinical level*)
- In your bath, add 4 – 8 drops of essential oils into magnesium flakes or Epsom salts and then add the mixture to your bath
- Body Spray – essential oils mixed with distilled water, shake well before and spritzing
Oil Safety – Quality of Essential Oils
There are SO many companies selling essential oils, how can you tell which ones are quality oils? Buying essential oils should be done with a simple vetting process. The quality of your oils is of great importance. You want to make sure you are getting pure unadulterated oils and not fragrance oils or oils past their prime.
This can be done by asking a few very important questions. DO NOT use the size of a company to determine its value, many smaller companies are EXCELLENT choices. Be careful about companies that do not have a certified aromatherapist on staff. Any company that tells you they only use pure unadulterated oils, but is unwilling or unable to provide the information directly to you upon request, should cause you to step back. Ask yourself if you are ready to accept “trust me”. I am not.
Here are some great questions to ask essential oil retailers:
- Do they test their oils with GC/MS (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry)? I know it is a big word. These tests can detect impurities and additives in the essential oils. The GC/MS report is an indication, although it is not 100% perfect, it is none the less important. If the company is willing to provide this report, you are on the right track. Make sure you can get your hands/eyes on the report rather than accepting the old “trust me”, we test all our oils statement. The proof is in seeing the report yourself.
- Are the GC/MS reports batch specific? Each harvest of the plants that essential oils come from varies due to weather, soil conditions, and location. It is therefore important to see the report specific to the harvest of the essential oil you are buying.
- Does every bottle of essential oil have the date the essential oil was distilled? Essential oils DO have a lifespan. You want to make sure you know how old your oil is. The typical lifespan of the oil should also be available to you.
- Does the company purchase their essential oils from a distiller or a distributor? This can be a red flag. Adulterations are more apt to happen with a distributor.
- Are their oils organic, certified organic, or wildcrafted (grown in the wild and not typically sprayed)?
- VERY IMPORTANT – does the company provide the Latin name and common name), of their oils? This can make a significant difference in the essential oil’s chemical constituents and performance since there are variations of many common named oils.
- Ask if the company provides samples. You can expect to pay a minimal but reasonable fee for a sample. Not all companies are willing to do this. This should not be a reason to pass on buying from the company if all other areas meet your approval.
- Cheap is not a bargain if you are looking for quality. Spending a competitive market price to get essential oils that will provide the benefits you are looking for is worth the price.